Ratings & Scores Tips and Best Practices

Via the left navigation, go to Settings> Performance Settings> Ratings & Scores

Math! Sigh.

How you score your employees is an integral part of the review process. Some organizations choose not to use numerical scores at all, instead focusing on the narrative aspects of the review process. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, and we certainly encourage the practice if it suits your culture and objectives as an organization. For those that find it meaningful to collect rating scores from reviews, it's easy to get lost in all the different options for configuration. We'd love to help simplify your decision-making process, so here are some pertinent topics on ratings, overall score, and how we recommend using them.


The Three C's of Ratings and Overall Score

Math may not be everyone's favorite pastime, but it sure has its uses. PiiQ takes a lot of the work of calculation off your plate, but certain configurations can make the entire process easier for your teams. Here we'll be focusing on three aspects of the ratings and scores that will keep your headaches to a minimum.


This one is pretty straightforward, but you wouldn't believe how much trouble it can save. PiiQ displays ratings in numerous ways during the completion of a review. Maintaining consistency in what your employees and managers see can avoid a good bit of confusion! An easy way to do this is to match all rating scale ranges between goals, competencies, and overall score. What does that mean? Here's an example.

As you already know from the Configuring Ratings and Scores article, you can set up the way category scores are shown for goals and competencies. It's not required that they be the same, but it's highly recommended that you keep them that way. Take a look at this:


Notice that the default "meets expectation" points are on very different parts of the scales when they are just one point apart. Getting a 2 out of 4 "On target" is just fine in terms of the competency, but this same score would translate to a 2.5 out of 5, which falls short of "Met expectations." There's no easy way to reconcile the two scales at a glance. While it's absolutely possible for a successful review form to have this sort of disconnect, you may find that employees and managers have difficulty extrapolating one score to the next. We'll come back to this point when talking about Overall Score calculation.



How easily could you explain to a manager that asks you what it means to "meet expectations?" Chances are that a goal is pretty simple to explain. You set an objective and you either met it or you didn't. Do allow for the ability to capture exceeding achievement by having met expectations at a point not at the end of the graph, as this makes it possible to reward your employees for going above and beyond.


In the above picture, it's impossible for a manager to indicate that their employee knocked it out of the park! This is something you definitely want to know as a decision maker in an organization, so we recommend giving the appropriate space.

Competencies are much more abstract to determine. What is an expected level of integrity, honesty, or leadership capability? Ask three HR professionals and you'll likely get three different answers. Hard to think managers will rate consistently across teams and over the years without a firm baseline from which to draw their conclusions. Enter: sub-competency question answers! Remember when we were creating and editing competencies in the Content Library? When defining the answers to a competency, you can set them to whatever you want! Use this flexibility to clearly define what each level of achievement means for your competencies. 

Here's a set of basic answers for a common competency:


There's nothing wrong with these, but we can do so much more and help our manages and employees rate themselves as accurately as possible. Here are some more elaborate answers to the same competency:


In the second case, it'll be clear to anyone choosing an answer which one is just right. This can be time consuming to do at first, but you'll reap huge rewards!


This isn't so much about how you configure your scores so much as keeping the configuration steady year over year. There are many great reasons to adjust your process, but it can become difficult to compare scores over multiple years if the method for scales and weighting shifts drastically. Bringing together the concepts of consistency and clarity, everything we are suggesting is intended to make your data as actionable as possible. A review that is easy to complete will increase engagement. Scores that people can quickly understand will make the next steps for growth faster to implement. PiiQ doesn't have to be a chore. :) 


How Overall Score is Calculated

Overall Score calculation is a three-step process: weight, range, and rounding. Unlike goal and competency sliders, Overall Score can be changed during an open review, so if you find yourself in need of calibrating score ranges or the weight of goals and competencies before closing a review, feel free to do so! Changing the score configuration only adjusts how scores are calculated, not the scores themselves, ensuring your data isn't manipulated after the fact. Here's the formula for calculating the score manually. 

Step 1: Weighting of Score

Weighting configuration is how you balance the value of ALL goals vs. ALL competencies. You can find the total goal and competency scores for an individual in the Detailed Scores Report. Once you have those scores, we apply the weight to them set under your Ratings & Scores configuration page. For this example, let's take a 

Goal Score * Goal Weighting % + Competency Score * Competency Weighting% = Score X
Example: The goal score is 5 and competency score is 4, the weightings for both are 50%.
5 * 50% + 4 * 50% = 4.5

Step 2: Range of Score

Next we need to convert the score range calculated above if it doesn't match what is used for your overall score. As we saw in the Consistency section of this article, it's possible to have an overall score range that doesn't match what you use for goals and competencies. In the Detailed Scores Report, we automatically convert combined scores to what is called a Normalized Score, which is always on a 0-5 range. If you went with our recommendation to keep your goal, competency, and overall score ranges the same, then you can skip this step! Otherwise, it will look something like below. 

We're converting from a 0-5 range (the normalized range) to what is configured for the Overall Score, 1-3.

Score X / (5 – 0) Default range * (Rmax – Rmin) Customized Range  + Rmin = Score Y
Example: The configured range is (1-3), the calculated score is 4.5
4.5 / (5-0) * (3-1) + 1 = 2.8

Goal and Competency Ranges Start at One!

While you can configure your overall score to start at zero, your goal and competency scores always will start at one. This means that if you have a goal scale with 5 points, the score range is 1-5. To match this, set your overall score range to 1-5. This can also prevent the need to perform the above conversion step.

Step 3: Rounding Precision of the Score

This part's easy enough. Just apply the rounding you set up to adjust the newly-calculated score.

Overall Score = Rounded (Score Y)
Example: the precision is 0.25, the calculated score is 2.8.
The final overall score is 2.75

 All done! I think I'll just leave it to PiiQ to crunch the numbers, personally.


Overall Score and the 9-Box Grid

A quick but important note on how Overall Score impacts the Analytics page (or 9-Box Grid): it doesn't Placement in the grid is a set of coordinates based directly and solely on your total competency and total goal score as seen in the Detailed Scores Report. This means that an employee's location is calculated and set before any Overall Score configurations are taken into account. Performance is the Y-axis and is based on the total goal score. For example, if you are using a 4 point scale for goals, your Performance axis will go from 1-4 (or 0-3, if you prefer to start at 0). 

Using this example, you can see that people who have a total goal score in the range of 0-1 will land in the bottom third, 1-2 in the middle, and 2-3 in the top. The same is done with your total competency score, generating the X,Y coordinates you see above. No matter your category score configuration, PiiQ will normalize them to fit into this scale and place them accordingly. If you want to determine how a score will place an employee on the 9-box grid, say for purposes of creating a spreadsheet that indicates the 9-box grid in tabular format, it's possible to generate this by using a combination of the Range of Score conversion above and a bit of Excel wizardry. Ask us if you need help with this!
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